Saturday, March 22, 2014

Investment advice

This cannot be considered solid advice in investment or savings. Just what I wish was told to me when I was 22 and out of college. I could be very wrong on a lot of stuff but I am still learning. 

1. Spend less on stuff
For first time in your life, you might be getting a good sum of money(read: more than what you may need) every month. This gives a sense of freedom and an intent to buy a lot of stuff - Read Stuff by Paul Graham. 

You don't need lot of those stuff. Don't buy stuff because you can afford them or need just once. Buy because it might significantly improve your quality of life on a regular basis. Rent/share/borrow everything else. 

2. Spend more on experiences
Try taking a music lesson. Go to an exotic location with your friend(s). Maybe try flying abroad like south east asia, europe etc. Do a backpacking trip. Attend a yoga class. Collect comic books. May be spend on a spa and give yourself a good massage. 

These are just some of the things. But you get the picture. Spend on experiences. They last forever and you are better for gaining them.

3. Spend better for services
Lets say you usually eat at a restaurant. When you have more money don't go for a costlier joint, Instead try the same place but start tipping the waiters well. Build a relationship with them. If you are regular and tip better than other customers, the service you are gonna get is going to be much better.

Similarly for saloon, grocery shopping etc. 

Don't be just another customer. Be a privileged customer to someone. The service providers love a returning customer. You are giving them reason to do their service better. 

4. Spend on people
Your parents, your siblings, your friends. Pay for a lunch, a movie, a trip for your parents that they would never do, anything. Let them know that they are important in your life than your money. Of course, only on people, to whom you want to mean that!  

5. Make mistakes: 
Don't worry about losing money when you are learning. It is OK to make mistakes. The inability to learn and the cost of making mistakes seem to grow up exponentially with age and commitments. 

If you are in India, like me, chances are the amount of learning you had in your engineering course is going to be low. That doesn't mean you can't learn them. Don't think much for spending on courses/lessons that could help you get better at what you do.

6. Shit happens.
Inflation isn't going away anytime soon. There are going to be market crashes and bad times for jobs. The single best thing you could do to equip yourself is not by saving a lot of money in your bank account but give yourself skills and experiences to flourish in any situation. 

I am not saying don't do savings/investments. Those are important to you on a rainy day. But the confidence and ability to back yourself to enjoy/manage yourself in any kind of situation could be the best thing you give yourself.

Courtesy: Reposting from Suren at Quora. He wouldn't mind as long as audience get the message. Also because he's #Nanbaenda

Friday, March 14, 2014

International Trip

Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone in taking the road less travelled and doing things that are not a part of your banality. I’ve always been curious about life of people outside India .why there’s always been huge queues outside US embassies.  US myth or reality! The days leading to the trip were as exciting as the whole trip.

First and foremost, any trip definitely tests your geography skills, directions. What states are there in the country? Which states are there in which coast? How many time zones are there? Day light saving concept. What are the places to hangout and cuisines to try out in your visit? Weather is grossly underrated especially if you’re moving a different hemisphere and time zone. Get ready for a  deluge of advice from every Tom, dick and Harry you meet for his expert comments on airports, flights, metros, food like they’ve lived their lifetime abroad.

No better expression describes an international trip like ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’. Till now, no one gave a damn about your existence (because you’re a local engineering fellow, not even a MBA correspondence degree holder). The moment you announce your trip details to friends and family, it spreads like swine flu. Big-headed uncles and annoying aunties (who repeatedly crack the rhetoric ‘next in line’ marriage jokes) call from different parts of the country to congratulate and slyly boast about their international experience. East coast or west coast. My son is there in California. US is very different.. bhah blah. My wife’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s son is in DC area. He’s a very nice fellow, you should meet him. I’ll whatsapp his number. Knowingly or unknowingly, big contacts list comes your way and you’ll oblige to give a courtesy call.
Next shopping. The uncles and aunties have polluted parents’ minds with their first hand experience. Winter clothes, thermal wears, Podis from Grand sweets. One stop to the Indian walmart, Saravana Stores , gave a true indication of the real india than the posh outlets in Nungambakkam. Plus all shopping done quick speed.

Finally, any international trip throws up a whole range of emotions from happiness to anxiety. There’s so much pride and elation in getting your first international stamp on passport before it expires. So much fascination and allurement to set foot on a different continent, breathe a different air and get a closer look on all the hoopla on NRI life. Fear creeps in especially if you’re travelling 1 week after Malaysian Airlines MH370 disappearance. Plethora of questions unanswered. Will I catch my transit flight? Is 1 hr too small to shift terminals in London? How will I buy tickets if I miss flight? What if flight crashes? Too many random thoughts crossed the mind when you board the flight that you realize it is better to shutdown your mind and sleep than think on the uncontrollable.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Impact: Number of lives we touch

Everyone talks about the pay, salary, CTC, Millions, Billions, Turnover, Revenue, Topline.

Would you prefer be remembered as a person who was a millionaire. Or as a man who changed a million lives.

Can our salary be interms of the number of people we have impacted?

Thinking Loud! Just a figment of my imagination :)